Our Team

Gary Cliffe – Interim Chief Executive, gary.cliffe@chesterva.org.uk

As Interim CEO, Gary supports the Deputy CEO by providing advice and guidance on our strategic direction. CWVA has such a lot going on so, to take full advantage, Gary has joined to help make sure the organisation is around the right tables engaging with all key stakeholders. With many important changes going on – for example, how health and social care is provided – it is such an important time for CWVA to make sure the sector and its members’ voices are heard. That’s where Gary comes in.

Gary is passionate about championing the underdog and loves understanding the framework for how services are delivered to people who need support. He finds being able to influence that agenda really exciting and, although frustrating at sometimes, it’s still something that gets him out of bed. He feels that, if you want to get a sense of satisfaction and the feeling that you might just be in the right place, the community sector is for you.

In his spare time, he loves walking his two young dogs but, to get away from it all, he flies my microlight mainly around the UK, but sometimes to Europe. He sees it as a great challenge, but also great fun with a great bunch of people.

Clare Harrison – Deputy Chief Executive, 07940 461 960, clare.harrison@chesterva.org.uk

The community sector is the only one Clare has ever worked in. She can’t imagine working in another sector.

Clare loves the diversity of CWVA’s membership and feels it is a privilege to work with all members. As she knows what CWVA does each day to drive change and help communities in west Cheshire, she can’t help but feel fulfilled. If you like your working week to be varied and unpredictable at times, as well as being able to meet a wide range of people, Clare would definitely recommend this sector.

In her spare time, she spends much of her life on the terraces or watching football as she is a season ticket holder at Liverpool Football Club. Clare’s also an avid vinyl collector and enjoys walking Lil, her gorgeous rescue dog.

Joanne Stanton – Senior Development Officer, 07940 421 220, joanne.stanton@chesterva.org.uk

Joanne specialises in governance and funding but, in reality, she does a little bit of everything at CWVA. Every day is a different challenge for Joanne. She’s worked for CWVA since 2011 and had a number of different roles, including managing the Cheshire Enterprising Women project, providing ongoing development support to all the projects funded by Brightlife, and most recently supporting the work of the Welcome Network.

She would definitely encourage anyone to work in the community sector. Joanne has worked in every sector, but she’s happiest in this one as it reflects her values and allows her to use her skills to make a difference.

In her spare time, Joanne loves the theatre, enjoys yoga, writing for growth and reflection, making up stories about the adventures of her rescue cat and editing her husband’s music articles. She is a member of Cheshire Wildlife Trust, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and Liverpool Museums. Joanne is also a Trustee of the Cheshire West Voluntary Arts Network.

Dee Gunning – Volunteering Development Officer (Mon-Thurs), 07498 506 469, dee.gunning@chesterva.org.uk

Dee’s main focus at CWVA is anything to do with volunteering, including supporting organisations to develop or maintain good practice in their volunteering programmes. Half of her week is spent working on the New Leaf project, which is a Cheshire-wide partnership helping move those furthest from employment closer to it. She supports people into suitable volunteering to help them develop their skills and confidence. Dee’s also enjoyed helping members create active, family friendly volunteering days as part of the Families Together project. She loves her job for the variety and how she can think creatively to a challenge, whatever it may be.

Dee’s happiest when working with people, motivating them to get involved and seeing them grow with skills and confidence they’ve gained through volunteering. She’s worked in the sector since 1996. After training as a Primary School Teacher in 2002 and teaching for four years, she moved back up north from London and was eventually drawn to this job. Dee feels lucky to work in a job that makes a real difference to the things she feels passionate about. Every day is different and she gets to meet so many wonderful and interesting people.

Even though she’s a city girl at heart, Dee loves nature and enjoys going for long walks. She loves a bit of last-minute camping and can’t believe she managed to backpack and camp around Europe for a month, two years running, as a teenager with nothing but a rucksack on her back.

John Buchanan – Training & Skillshare Officer, 07940 461 908, john.buchanan@chesterva.org.uk

John provides training to help individuals and organisations develop their skillset and personal growth.

He enjoys helping others and watching a charity or community group growing stronger. With some communities CWVA works with acutely funded, John feels it’s a privilege to be able to invest his time and expertise to help them thrive.

In his spare time, John likes to write and watch dystopian TV.

Emma Wharry – Administration & Finance Officer (Tues, Wed, Thurs), emma.wharry@chesterva.org.uk

Emma provides a range of administration services, including finance, governance and Human Resources (HR), offering direct support to the staff team and Board of Trustees.

Her role is hugely varied and she enjoys helping others, supporting a fantastic team and getting to know CWVA’s diverse membership. Emma feels it is a privilege to work in the community sector and she is passionate about the work CWVA does. She would definitely recommend working in this sector to anyone as it is incredibly rewarding.

In her spare time, Emma enjoys being with her family.

Mike Stanton – Membership Support Officer (Tues-Fri), enquiries@chesterva.org.uk

Mike is the Membership Support Officer, which essentially means he looks after all members’ needs, acting as a link between CWVA’s team of specialists and the hundreds of members.

He enjoys building relationships and helping others. Mike feels there is nothing more rewarding than forming a long-lasting and valuable relationship with members, helping them find solutions to problems and guiding them in the direction of the wealth of expertise and dedication at CWVA. For Mike, to feel you are really making a difference and helping amazing and dedicated people is hugely rewarding and very humbling.

Mike is a music obsessive, produces and presents his own music show and podcast, and writes about music for several magazines and publications. He supports Liverpool Football Club, loves cricket (both watching and playing), enjoys reading, fine wine, playing video games, movies, restaurants, and likes cats. Mike listens to Boards of Canada, Gary Numan, Nine Inch Nails, and underground electronic music keeps him happy and centred.

Ryan Gould – Communication Officer, ryan.gould@chesterva.org.uk

Ryan is part of the Communication team at Cheshire West and Chester Council, supporting CWVA two-days-a-week with communication and marketing as part of a buy-back agreement.

Before his involvement with CWVA, Ryan hadn’t worked closely with the community sector, but he is regularly inspired by the stories he hears about the generosity and dedicated support offered by charities and community groups. He is passionate about spreading the word about the sector.

In his spare time, Ryan likes to travel and watch plenty of sport. He has to deal with the constant frustration that comes with being a Bolton Wanderers season ticket holder. Ryan is also Media Manager at North Wales Crusaders, National Team Media Manager at Wales Rugby League and covers rugby league for a number of different newspapers and magazines on a freelance basis.

Stephanie Ellis – Food Strategy Lead Specialist Infrastructure, (Mondays only) stephanie.ellis@chesterva.org.uk

Steph is the single point of contact for anyone in the community sector providing food or addressing the issue of food poverty. Other parts of CWVA’s work is being linked to this agenda, such as the Green Pledges campaign and Keep It Local. Working together with the team at CWVA, there is a fantastic support offer for food groups and Steph is leading on the development of a Food Strategy for the whole borough.

She enjoys working with fantastic people and making connections and partnerships that enhance what people are already doing. Steph has worked in the community sector for 12 years now and loves it. In the sector, she feels there are the most amazing people passionate about their work and making a real difference in their communities.

In her spare time, she love walking, running, watching sport, drinking tea and being with friends.

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